St. Vincent DeJamz 5-20-13

In the midst of music festivals with “safe” lineups (ahem, Lollapalooza 2013) or are overtly trying to prove having “alternative cred” (Pitchfork Music Festival, obviously), the savior to Chicago music festivals has arrived: Riot Fest 2013. Expanding into a three-day festival at Humboldt Park, Riot Fest has only gotten better with age. Unlike more well-known festivals in the city, Riot Fest is known for its diverse lineup centering around punk mainstays and lower prices. With more mainstream headliners such as Fall Out Boy and Blink-182 this year, though, Riot Fest is appealing to a wider demographic, proving that its brand of music festival makes it one of most anticipated events in Chicago.

1.”Grand Theft Autumn/Where is Your Boy” by Fall Out Boy: When the Chicago-bred band took the stage at the Riviera last Friday, bassist Pete Wentz told the audience how “Grand Theft Autumn” is one of Fall Out Boy’s songs beloved by fans around the world. As a single off of debut album “Take This to Your Grave,” the track shows potential for the “emo punk-pop” Fall Out Boy would later popularize with the mainstream success of second album “From Under the Cork Tree.”

2. “Dammit” by Blink-182: When lead singer Mark Hoppus whines the lyric “Well I guess this is growing up,” it shows that even with pop punk band Blink-182’s toilet humor, they still provided the perfect anthem to the woes of, well, growing up. Reuniting in 2009 and releasing sixth album Neighborhoods in 2011, Blink-182’s appearance at Riot Fest is sure to make anyone nostalgic for the late ’90s satisfied.

3.”Time Bomb” by Rancid: Ska punk band Rancid cemented mainstream success with this catchy and upbeat track talking about a boy whose life will come to an inevitable end shortly. Although deceiving lyrically, “Time Bomb” is just one Rancid track that displays the band’s signature style of rebellion against the norm. Riot Fest-goers can expect Rancid’s set to be one of the highlights of the festival, as this is a punk mainstay one wouldn’t want to miss.

4. “The Days of the Phoenix” by AFI: The Bay-area band is known for its melodic take on punk rock. As evident on track “The Days of the Phoenix” from fifth album “The Art of Drowning,” lead singer Davey Havok’s dark lyrics and wide vocal range (including the ability to sustain screaming for long periods) as well as guitarist Jade Puget’s skill for incorporating moody, atmospheric sounds have made AFI one of the most compelling acts to see live.

5.”Walking is Still Honest” by Against Me!: When lead singer Laura Jane Grace (formerly known as Tom Gabel) came out last year as a transgender woman, the last thing her band lost was its punk authenticity. Early signs of the band’s raw authenticity are showcased with track “Walking is Still Honest” from debut album “Against Me! Is Reinventing Axl Rose” as Grace cries “Can anybody tell me why God won’t speak to me?” Fans throughout the years have stormed the stage during this song to join in on Grace’s impassioned plea.

6.”Sorrow” by Bad Religion: Blending intellectual lyrics, vocal harmonies and melodic punk rhythm, “Sorrow” came in at number 56 on Alternative Press’ 100 Best Singles of the Decade in 2009. While the song’s meaning has been debated, lyrics such as “And there will be sorrow no more/ When all soldiers lay their weapons down” discuss the universal experience of pain and suffering. Bad Religion is a band that continuously proves that punk goes beyond its aggressive sound.

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Click here for the link to our Spotify playlist for St. Vincent DeJamz 5-20-13